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THE PRICE OF MURDER: Turkey Names Price for Supporting Iraq Attack

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Turkey Qualifies Support for U.S. By James C. Helicke Associated Press Writer Wednesday, July 17, 2002
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 18 5:06 PM
      Turkey Qualifies Support for U.S.

      By James C. Helicke
      Associated Press Writer
      Wednesday, July 17, 2002


      ANKARA, Turkey .. Turkey has agreed to back the United States if it takes
      military action to topple Saddam Hussein but has asked that Washington
      write off $5 billion in debt and guarantee that Kurds would not be given
      an independent state, according to news reports Wednesday.

      Turkish leaders publicly have opposed U.S. action against Saddam and had
      reacted coolly to the Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's visit to
      lobby Turkish leaders for support. But Turkey is in desperate need of
      foreign loans to recover from a deep financial crisis and is likely to
      have little choice but to agree to U.S. action.

      Turkey asked the United States to write off its $5 billion military debt
      and insisted that regime change in Baghdad should be acceptable to the
      Iraqi people, the daily Hurriyet newspaper reported. It also said
      Wolfowitz was asked for public guarantees that a Kurdish state would not
      be created in northern Iraq and that the military action would not harm
      Turkey's frail economy.

      If Iraq becomes a democratic state, "it won't be only the people of Iraq
      who benefit from this, but it would be the whole world, and very much this
      region ... Turkey stands to benefit enormously if Iraq becomes a normal
      country," said Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's No. 2 official who met with top
      Turkish leaders Tuesday and Wednesday.

      Turkey was a key base for U.S. warplanes during the Gulf War which drove
      Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. NATO-member Turkey still is base to 50 U.S.
      fighter jets enforcing a no-fly zone over northern Iraq to protect Kurds
      who have an autonomous zone there from retribution from Baghdad.

      During a meeting with Wolfowitz, Turkey's military Chief of Staff, Gen.
      Huseyin Kivrikoglu, questioned how the United States was planning to
      prevent the creation of a Kurdish state, the daily Sabah reported. Turkey
      fears a Kurdish state in northern Iraq could encourage Kurdish rebels who
      have fought for 15 years for autonomy inside Turkey.

      The news reports said Wolfowitz assured Turkish leaders the United States
      was firmly opposed to a Kurdish state.

      Turkey also warned that the oil rich areas of Mosul and Kirkuk in northern
      Iraq should not be put under the control of Iraqi Kurds, Hurriyet said.
      The areas are just outside the autonomous Kurdish zone.

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